49ers win games; inspire skepticism

Dante Geoffrey

At 7-1, the San Francisco 49ers are being lauded as not only one of the NFL’s most surprising teams, but also one of the league’s best.

Pundits across America have raved about the new 49ers as the Jim Harbaugh-led squad has shot up power rankings.

But after a decade of mediocre-to-horrid football, it is difficult to accept that glory has truly returned to the franchise I have followed my entire sentient life. How do I know they’re for real?

I’ve heard this story before. When Mike Nolan took over in 2005, the 49ers were headed in the right direction. When Singletary took over, the talented roster was going to have the motivation to get over the hump and make the playoffs.

None of that worked out. So why should it work out now?

The pessimistic side of my 49er fandom is still waiting for the trap game, the vintage Alex Smith no-confidence game, the moment confirming my suspicions this success has all been a hoax. I’m waiting for J.T. O’Sullivan to wake me up and tell me the four-game NFC West lead is all a joke and then laugh in my face as he gives me a Kentwan Balmer jersey.

But at a certain point I’m going to have to stop denying the apparent truth: This team is good. And the evidence backs it up.

The 49ers have beaten the teams they were supposed to beat. The 49ers have beaten teams that were supposed to beat them. They have won on the road. They have won at home. They have won by way of blow out and they have won close games.

What else can I, and you, ask from them?

People who have rooted for the 49ers for the past 10 years are a lot like people who have been cheated on. We want the fun of a successful relationship but we’re so afraid of being burned again.

I sit on a couch every Sunday, happy the 49ers are winning, but deep down I’m afraid they’re going to hurt me like they have in the past.

That feeling, that lack of trust, is something that is only going to go away with time.

Another nine games (eight regular season games plus at least one playoff game) in the right direction this season and a full season of solid heartbreakless football next season and then maybe – maybe! – I can learn to love the 49ers again.

But, Alex Smith.

Alex Smith is like your significant other’s brother. He’s a super nice guy but somehow, despite how educated and naturally gifted he is, he always manages to completely ruin parties. He spills all the drinks or hits on the host’s wife. Almost every party you’ve gone to in the past seven years has been ruined by him.

Until now.

Now he shows up and the party is just fine. He’s never the life of the party but he still allows for everyone else to have a good time.

That’s what Alex Smith is as a quarterback now. I like the hell out of him. He’s smart, disciplined and I’d even let him date my sister.

I (perhaps foolishly) still think he can lead an NFL team to playoff success. But I still don’t trust him.

I want to, but I can’t just yet.

You are on your way, 49ers. You’re regaining my trust, slowly but surely, and I’m very excited about the progress we’re making.

But, Alex Smith.

Dante Geoffrey can be reached at asports@statehornet.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @dantegeoffrey.